Boeing 777X Expected To Make First Flight Shortly

Filed Under: Misc.

It goes without saying that the past year has been really rough for Boeing. The worst situation has involved the 737 MAX being grounded globally following two fatal crashes. On top of that, Boeing’s brand new 777X has been delayed as well.

What is the Boeing 777X?

For those of you not familiar, the Boeing 777X is Boeing’s newest version of the 777. It will come in two variants — the 777-8 and 777-9 — and the planes are both longer range and larger than existing 777s.

With there clearly not being a market anymore for planes like the A380 and 747-8, this seems to be about the biggest we should expect from aircraft manufacturers in the coming years.

Boeing’s 787 is also popular, though this is intended as a larger alternative.

Boeing’s 777X challenges up until now

The 777X was supposed to have its first flight in mid-2019, though several months ago we learned that the plane wouldn’t fly until 2020 due to engine issues.

The problem involves a General Electric engine, the GE9X. This is the largest engine ever on a commercial plane, and it’s having durability problems. This has delayed certification on the plane.

That wasn’t the only issue, though. During the 777X certification process, a door also blew off during a stress test.

777X to fly in coming days

Boeing has just announced that the 777X is expected to make its first test flight as early as January 23, 2020, subject to weather and other factors.

This will be one of many test flights before the plane actually enters commercial service, though it’s a step in the right direction. We also know that the plane won’t be delivered to any airlines before 2021, which is creating some challenges for the airlines that have been relying on this plane for their fleet renewal. Heck, we’re even waiting on this plane for Lufthansa to launch their new business class.

Could 777X face similar challenges to 737 MAX?

There are many parallels between the process that Boeing has gone through with the 737 MAX and the 777X:

  • The 737 MAX is an evolution of the previous version of the 737, and the 777X is an evolution of the previous version of the 777
  • Boeing has relied on the commonality between the aircraft type as a selling point to airlines
  • In recently revealed company emails, Boeing employees complained about some of the suppliers being used with the 737 MAX, noting “best part is we are re-starting this whole thing with the 777X with the same supplier and have signed up to an even more aggressive schedule!”

The point is, I think it’s safe to say that the 777X will get extra scrutiny during the FAA certification process, given the precedent that the 737 MAX set.

Bottom line

The 777X is on the surface an exciting evolution of the the previous version of the 777. The plane has already been delayed significantly, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see that continue.

While the first flight is a step in the right direction, I think it’s safe to say that Boeing faces an uphill battle when it comes to the certification process for this plane, just as with the 737 MAX.

Call me a skeptic, but I’m not counting on the 777X entering service in 2021…

Comments
  1. Just hope this one is better designed for stability than the 737Max. And it would be nice if Boeing had managed to bring noise levels down to at least the same as Airbus.

    Having said so, it looks like a very nice plane.

  2. ‘In recently revealed company emails, Boeing employees complained about some of the suppliers being used with the 737 MAX, noting “best part is we are re-starting this whole thing with the 777X with the same supplier and have signed up to an even more aggressive schedule!”’

    You’ve got to be shitting me! Is there any context to those emails, like the supplier’s quality not being very high, or are these employees complaining about more trivial stuff, like the supplier being difficult to work with?

  3. @Jay
    It really doesn’t matter if its trivial, because Boeing works with a number of suppliers. If Engineers are getting to the level of complaining about a specific supplier, it’s not a great sign for that supplier keeping up with Boeing’s expectations – which don’t seem to be particularly high these days…

  4. @Jay

    I believe the emails in question were regarding simulators. So it’s not a question of a supplier of parts for the plane itself. However, there may be concerns about getting 777X simulators produced well and quickly.

  5. Well I won’t be stepping on a 737MAX for as long as possible.

    I really hope Boeing do a good job on the 777X, as it will be a lot worse if one of those goes down.

  6. A door blew off? That was only the secondary damage of the fuselage rupturing and blowing open in the pressure test. There’s pictures in a new article and it looks actually really bad.

  7. A good rule of thumb, if you value your life, is to not ride on a Boeing model that is less than 5 years in service.

  8. Dear Washingtonians,

    SEEK SHELTER IMMEDIATELY. There’s a new Boeing aircraft being flown over your heads. This is NOT a drill.

  9. Will refuse to fly 737 MAX or 777X until they’re proven safe through actual use. Can’t depend on the certification process anymore.

    Yes, flying is much safer than driving, but in most cases there are no alternatives to being in a car, but there are certainly alternatives to flying these new Boeing Frankensteins.

  10. What is CX going to do with the 777X ? Only 4 first class seats ? No more first class ? A new product ?

  11. @D3KingAmerican:

    inside the 777X, CX will install the first-ever airborne Dim Sum teahouse. COmplete with ladies rolling those steamcarts around loaded with delicious treats.

  12. “H” that door that blew off happened during the stress testing, actually the plane was in “over stress” when that door blew off, yet someone felt compelled to send out the picture to the press without qualifying it. AND that is the point of stressing these planes well beyond design criteria to find the point or in engineering “moment”.

    Ah the news anything in print must be true

  13. @pushslice Thanks to cost cutting, I read they opted for a Tim Ho Wan franchise for premium passengers in the mini cabin directly before Door 2.

  14. @ghostrider5408
    The 777X was indeed pressurized to levels above the usual amounts, but it still did not go to the levels expected. The fuselage did end up failing within 1% of the testing limit, so it is still technically speaking, “a passed test”.
    Doesn’t mean that it’s all good, though. These planes are tested to limits well above service limits for a reason – there’s meant to be a huge safety margin. It’s the most important thing in aviation – redundancy. When you justify cutting corners “since it was redundant anyways”, you are directly compromising safety and the safety culture. It’s this kind of thinking why the 737MAX problems even happened.

    Also to note – the testing was not beyond the design criteria, it was over service criteria. You’re buying into Boeing PR efforts if you’re conflating the two. The plane, in theory, should have gone through the testing fine, without a door blowing off, since it was designed to. If it wasn’t, they wouldn’t have tested it. The fact that it didn’t pass the test, to me, indicates some kind of problem (even if it is as minor as fatigue to to extensive testing). These testing levels not ever being achieved in regular flight is irrelevant here.

  15. @GuruJanitor

    dude, don’t knock those crispy baked Char Siu Baos at THW. Legit tasty!
    I’d look forward to that if an airline partnered with THW on branded catering. kinda like EVA and their DTF treats..

  16. @Pooja

    I go one step further than that. I wait at least seven years before I fly any new aircraft. In other words, I wait for the first ‘D check’ cycle to occur. That means I only got to fly the a380 in around 2015. When the 787 battery fire problems started happening on some airlines I usually fly, I sighed with relief that my ‘7 year system’ prevented me from flying that aircraft. And you can imagine how I felt after the recent 737Max crashes!!

  17. @lucky – the door was secondary. plane ruptured during that stress test in Sept.

    “The test plane is a complete write-off, its fuselage skin ripped wide open just behind the wing. A passenger door that blew out and fell to the factory floor was a secondary impact of the initial rupture, which was located far below the door.”

  18. I so enjoy the armchair quarterbacking of the masses. I bet almost all of you who work at a decent size company have seen emails dissing various things. I am also sure that people bitch about the fucking idiots that are suppliers. Before you all act all above this crap, Boeing isn’t the only company that does stupid shit. I bet many of you would lose their shit if you found out how many products you use everyday are produced from band aided machines, and obsolete software. This is in the US I am referring to. Just imagine the shit coming from China.

  19. The telegraph article is a whole load of trash and taken out of context in order to get views. The emails relate to the flight simulator NOT the actual aircraft. People just take everything at face value without actually fact checking or investigating

  20. @John

    I would suggest waiting for the E-check, the D-check comes prematurely for me.

    I would also advise you never to fly Qatar Airways.

  21. @dan

    You are right – I’m absolutely sure the quality of most of the products I use every day are of crappy qualityOnly difference is I don’t rely on those products to keep me flying 35k feet up in the air.

  22. RC
    Maybe so but if you own a car ride transit or take meds you are at the same risk. Those automatic defribulators And other medical devices also had/have software bugs.
    the insanity that goes on in the medical world over saving a few dollars puts should really have you worried. But those emails don’t get leaked

  23. It must really suck to be an engineer at Boeing these days. Mismanagement at the top, leaks of email conversations, and an ignorant public that does not know what to believe. Our society has been overrun by social media where everyone is entitled and an expert but no one is in charge.

  24. @Dan

    You’re right about cars, trains, and medical devices. Which is why the best we can do in those situations when we can’t avoid the use of the product itself is to avoid using certain brands that have a poor reputation for quality. Same thing here – no one is swearing off flying in general – but what we are saying is that we will just simply plan on flying a different model plane or a craft from Airbus instead.

    Also – email leaks happen in similar non-Boeing situations all the time. Stop trying so hard to defend them specifically. I remember there was similar leaks of internal bantering that reflected a poor light on the company when Takata was going through their big airbag recall snafu. Happens a lot when the light is getting shined on a specific company for a major wrongdoing.

  25. @dan

    Please refresh my faulty memory about the recent incidents where two CHINESE manufactured commercial aircraft crashed killing hundreds of people and then that dastardly CHINESE aircraft manufacturer denied it was at fault, and in fact, the foreign devil pilots were really to blame because they didn’t know how to handle these perfectly fine CHINESE aircraft !

  26. Shaun
    As for airplanes it will happen. I will give you one example of Chinese fraud. They supplies adulterated Heparin to a US company that killed around 17 people. (google it if you would like) They were so slick that normal testing didn’t pick it up. Their high speed rail lines are fast because they cut corners on safety. Notice almost no other country has ordered any of their jets?

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